BATH — With a contractor in place, site work will soon begin for the new Morse High School.

Crooker Construction was the apparent low bidder among three companies at a bid opening June 26, Regional School Unit 1 Superintendent Patrick Manuel said in an interview the following day.

“We’re excited and pleased,” because the company is based in nearby Topsham, and its bid of $16.3 million came in a little under RSU 1’s budget, Manuel said.

The RSU 1 Board of Directors does not have to approve Crooker’s selection, the superintendent noted.

“As early as right after July 4 is when they’re going to start,” he said.

The new school will be built on vacant land at the Wing Farm Business Park, and is scheduled to open in August 2020.

RSU 1 voters last November approved a construction bond by a 3-1 margin. The state is funding $67.4 million of the $75.3 million cost; $7.2 million is to be paid locally through borrowing, with $700,000 earmarked from fundraising, most of which has already been raised.

School officials had eyed a groundbreaking ceremony – similar to one recently held for nearby Mt. Ararat High School, also due to open a new building in 2020 – but opted to wait until site work is complete, and the construction phase is about to get underway, Manuel said.

The district is tentatively planning to host a barbecue on the site in September, Manuel said. Members of project committees, local officials and other community members will be invited “to come and see the progress we’ve made on the site,” and be thanked for their service, Manuel said.

An official groundbreaking will be held next spring, in advance of building construction.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Site work for a new Morse High School in Bath is due to begin after Independence Day, with Crooker Construction handling the work.

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